School Violence

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The problem we are facing today with violence in the schools is a major concern with communities everywhere. Juvenile homicide is twice as common today as it was in the mid 1980's. It isn't the brain that the kids are born with that has changed in half a generation; what has changed though is the easy access to guns and the glorification of revenge in real life and in entertainment. Crime in and around schools is threatening the well being of students, as well as the staff and surrounding communities. It also affects the learning and student achievements.

Violence is found more in public schools rather than Catholic schools. Most Catholic schools have less tolerance and is a better teaching environment. It is said that uniforms help to keep more peace in the school. The students don't get made fun of for not wearing the "in look" or name brand clothing. Making fun of, or laughing at other students contribute to low self-esteem, which is one characteristic of a student who brings violence in the schools.

In 1997, more than ½ of the schools reported at least one crime incident. Also, in 1997 one out of ten schools reported at least on serious violent crime. Ten percent of all public schools have experienced one or more serious violent crimes, such as, murder, rape, suicide, sexual battery, and physical attack of fighting with a weapon or robbery.

Crime and violence seem to be more of a problem in high schools and middle schools rather than elementary schools. In 1997 45% of elementary schools reported on or more acts of violence, middle schools reported 74% and high schools 75%.

One of the goals of the National Education Goals was that by the year 2000, all schools in America will be free of drugs, alcohol, violence and the presence of firearms by unauthorized personnel. The also wanted a disciplined environment that is acceptable for learning. This goal has obviously not been reached yet.

The crimes that are occurring the most in schools are vandalism, theft/larceny, physical attacks or fighting without a weapon. The report of physical attack or fighting with a weapon was calculated as 6%. Even though weapons related crime is not as high of a percentage as everything else, it is still one of the biggest and must be eliminated. Weapons are one of the worst things that could happen in a school.

The school administration should adopt a zero tolerance strategy or something very similar. When the staff and students arrive at school, they should feel safe and secure. People should be able to walk in a school and not have to worry if someone is going to ridicule, attack or shoot them.

School administrations are reviewing security and crisis plans, but they are quick to point out there is no one answer to providing a safe school environment. Everyone wants on simple solution, but there is not one.

People have to work toward getting and maintaining school safety. No matter how well prepared or how safe anyone thinks a plan is, it will never be 100% fool proof. Someone will always find a way around any plan.

Most incidents could and can be prevented by students, parents, teachers, or citizens by sharing information they know with the schools or police. It is a known fact that before a crime occurs, someone (other than the person planning it), knows that the crime is going to happen. But no one comes forward because they think nothing like this could happen in their community or school. Violence can happen anywhere or at anytime. Remember Jonesboro or Columbine, someone knew what the students were planning and did not go to the police or school officials. Schools should pay attention too not only the major threats but also the littlest ones. Schools in Texas cancelled the last two weeks of classes due to repeated bomb threats, but due to parental and community outrage, school officials had to reopen the schools a few days later. Four boys in Michigan were charged with...
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